Barbara’s great passion for fashion

“I suppose it would be true to say that fashion began for me when I was very young. My mother and father were both smart, and liked clothes, and so I quickly picked up on this, I believe. In any case, since then I have known a lot of designers and a lot of clothes!

When I was growing up in England, children were always given new clothes for Whitsuntide, and on Whit Sunday we were taken to church and to see relatives in order to show off those clothes. Easter was another occasion when little girls were given new Easter bonnets. I had a lot of bonnets then. Not today! I hardly ever wear hats.

A reporter once asked me what I was like as a child, and I said I was ironed from top to toe, meaning that my mother always kept me looking very pristine and well dressed when I was a child. I liked to look nice, and was always very careful to keep myself clean. Except when I was sixteen and a young reporter on the Yorkshire Evening Post. My mother bought me a new trenchcoat, and then caught me dragging it around in the garden. She was horrified and scolded me. I explained, very seriously, that I needed to have a ‘dirty trenchcoat’ in order to look like a seasoned reporter. I don¹t think she appreciated my answer though!

Later, on the Yorkshire Evening Post, I was a fashion writer as well as a general reporter, then became a women’s page editor. But I still liked to cover the fashion beat, despite my other duties.

At twenty I became fashion editor of a leading women’s magazine in London, and covered the London and Paris fashion shows.”